Day Trip: Swim with Manatees, Eat, and Sunset
Head out first thing in the morning to Crystal River, Florida (approximately 90 minutes north of Tampa and west of Orlando) and check into the manatee tour center. There you’ll watch a video on how to snorkel and interact with manatees, then you’ll be fitted with a swimsuit, snorkel, mask, and fins. Follow your guide and hop on a pontoon boat that will take you to a designated area. You’ll quietly enter cool, spring-fed waters that are so clear that you’ll be able to spot manatees in no time. If you’re lucky, these friendly and curious creatures will swim right up to you! After your tour, head to downtown Inverness to enjoy a hearty lunch and maybe do a little shopping, then spend the rest of the afternoon at Fort Island Gulf Beach Pier and watch the sunset.
Locations: Crystal River and Homosassa (tour centers vary by location
Cost: Varies, but usually around $60 per person
What to Bring: Just your swimsuit! Tours usually provide wetsuit, snorkel, mask, and fins
Length of Activity: 3 – 4 hours
Best Time to Go: Manatee tours operate all year round, but you’ll spot more manatees in the cooler months when they